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Monday, July 28, 2014

Churches come together for Sandy victims
(Page 2 of 2)
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
The Venerable Brenda Overfield of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Valley Stream and the Rev. Owen Thompson of Trinity-St. John’s in Hewlett thanked Michael Linton, right, for the donations he brought from Massachusetts.

Then the gas crisis hit, and, Overfield said, it made sense to consolidate locations. Trinity-St. John’s was set up as a combination collection and distribution center, and all the items at Holy Trinity, which filled two vans and several cars, were brought to Hewlett.

Then Linton came calling. He initially contacted the Red Cross and Salvation Army, but was told his donations wouldn’t be accepted. Through a connection of one of his employees, he found out about Holy Trinity’s collection drive and contacted Overfield. Within a week, he was heading to Long Island with donations.

“This is probably the biggest effort that we’ve ever done,” Linton said, adding that he provided assistance after a tornado in Springfield, Mass., and the tsunami in Thailand.

Overfield just happened to grow up and graduate from high school in Ludlow, Mass. She says she truly believed it was God’s intervention that led Linton to her church. “This is just not a coincidence,” she said. “It can’t be.”

Linton, she added, is just one of many people who have gone above and beyond to help others in a time of crisis.

Thompson, who has been at Trinity-St. John’s for seven years, has also been captivated by the giving spirit of people. Parishioners who were not affected by the storm, along with many local businesses, have contributed a lot, he said.

Volunteers have made many trips to hurricane-ravaged areas, distributing food and supplies, Thompson said. He added that because there is a lot of rebuilding to do in those areas, the need for donations will continue long-term, and he hopes the generosity continues to meet the demand.

Overfield said that the relief efforts have brought out the best in a lot of people — “a little bit of heaven on Earth” — leaving her with faith that the giving can continue. “I find it inspirational and hopeful,” she said. “For me, it affirms the basic goodness of people’s nature.”

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